Did any of you catch Meryl on "60 Minutes" on Sunday? She got one quarter of those minutes. Someone else noted this on Twitter, not I, but it's wonderful to imagine her prep work for these interviews. 'Oh, 60 Minutes is here? I'll just run a comb through my hair.'
My favorite bits from the 15 minutes
• On the realness of her work becoming the characters: "I'm not insane. I do know that I'm acting!"
• The moment where she "acts" her own voice to demonstrate that she and Thatcher both have "light" voices and you need to take them deeper for dramatic resonance or to be taken seriously. She was also the morning announcer at her high school so THAT VOICE was always drawing attention to itself.
• The actreses she loved when growing up, were not contemporaries but classic movie queens: Carole Lombard, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Barbara Stanwyck.
I like girls with attitude, you know? Moxie. There's an old word."
She also talks about the strength of women repeatedly and is obviously proud of her track record at working with female directors (we have some names for your wishlist Streep!).
• Her flirty "not to me" when asked if the legendary Joe Papp was a taskmaster on stage.
• I didn't know this but during that first flush of stardom one summer post Deer Hunter, she was working on Kramer vs. Kramer and Woody Allen's Manhattan during the day and then playing "Taming of the Shrew" at night on stage! Crazy.
• That they compare Streep to Royalty. So this here then is one of America's royal families. The Gummers.
My favorite quote from the profile, talking about her range.
It always really bothers me when people imagine that characters who don't look like you or don't have the same accent as you are far from you. A great actress Sybil Thorndike said 'I think we all have the germ of every other person inside of us.' And I believe we do."
If that name sounds familiar, it's because you've just heard it. Judi Dench plays Thorndike in My Week With Marilyn.
• They also talk about her Streep's work on a national museum for women's history and how Hollywood has fought to remove adults from moviegoing because they don't buy toys.
• "All that education down the drain" making fun of herself when she mistakes a "la giaconda" reference -- her Mona Lisa mystery -- for a comparison to an "anaconda".
Okay so my favorite bits were essentially all of them. She's a delight even when she's sermonizing. How does she do it?
BUT... I can't say I am enjoying the new idolization of Margaret Thatcher. We should not be holding her up as some kind of role model. Answering a question about whether or she admires Thatcher, Streep shrugs off the disconcerting politics, and focuses on female strength.
I am in awe of what she did. The policies you can argue with but to sit in the hotseat... I can't even imagine having that steadfastness.
The problem with holding up Thatcher as such a role model is it excuses her terrible policies and also ignores the fact that sometimes steadfastness is not an admirable quality when the things you're stubborn about cause huge problems for the world. Think of George Bush's obstinacy. Steadfastness 'my way or the highway' is not always what we need from politicians... especially if their ideas are so damaging for anyone who isn't wealthy and powerful and conservative in character.
Here's the video if you haven't seen it (warning: there are commercials)...
Magazine puff pieces? 60 Minutes?
I don't remember this much attention for Julie & Julia or Doubt but my mind could be playing tricks on me and memory can be short in the heat of each new Oscar season. Maybe Meryl knows that The Iron Lady is a tougher sell film and is just doing her star duty to promote it?
Or maybe she finally wants that third Oscar. She's seemingly never wanted it as badly as her fans want it for her... though that degree of want would be frightening in a star. It would be particularly unbecoming for Streep as part of her great charm is that everywoman nonchalance about her fame and reputation. But this ease at Being Meryl could well be half the Oscar problem. Not being in great films would be the other. This is hardly an original thought -- that Meryl's films aren't what they used to be -- but it's rather shockingly underlined by the Oscar numbers. Consider this: Meryl has been nominated 16 times. If you cleave her nominations down the middle chronologically and look at both halves it goes like this...
First ½ of Streep's Noms: Three Best Picture winners and those eight films combined won 47 nominations and 18 Oscars. Only one of Streep's nominations (A Cry in the Dark) was the film's sole get.
Second ½ of Streep's Noms: The eight films combined earned 18 nominations and 1 Oscar. There's not a sole Best Picture nominee among them (though she did star in one, The Hours, but was not nominated for it.) Three of her eight nominations this time (Bridges, One True Thing, Julie & Julia) were the sole Oscar attention for the film.
Psssst. If you'd like to participate in the Reader Ranking Streep project, today's your last day.
It's too soon to say whether she'll be the only nominee for The Iron Lady -- the makeup and costuming categories might prevent that though both categories are foolish to bet on as they're known for surprises -- but it's entirely possible. Will she ever turn it around and star in a film that hits with audiences, critics and Oscar voters across the board again? Will there ever be another The Hours or Kramer vs. Kramer or even a Silkwood (which was obviously a just-miss in terms of a Best Picture nod and Meryl does enjoy the biopics)?